Here I was, having just turned 40, having a series of attacks of life, and feeling that I needed to focus on something. Moreover, I saw a picture of me and I realized that I didn't look like I thought I did. I also noticed that pounds had been accumulating without my knowledge, like thieves in the night, and that if I didn't do something quick, I would turn into my mother in no time.
At the time, I decided that life was short, and that I was not going to give up and age gracefully. Therefore, I joined my first gym, even though I had no idea how to begin or what exercise routine would work for me.
That was then.
These days, I don't worry too much about the way I look. I have realized that exercising and cleaning up my eating habits results in feeling like a million dollars, and I measure my success not in pounds lost but in terms of strenght and flexibility.
Oh, I still care about my looks. I am too vain not to. All you need to do is take a peek at my medicine cabinet, which is overflowing with creams, skin treatments and beauty products, and you'll know what I mean. However, having changed my focus has changed my perspective, and I have to say for the better.
I have been exercising regularly for the past 10-11 years. During that time, I have lost weight, increased stamina, and survived breast cancer surgery. Regarding the latter, doctors were really amazed at how fast I recovered, and they chalked it up to the fact that I was in very good physical shape to begin with.
The other thing about surviving cancer, whether breast or any other kind, is that it changes your view on life. These days, my philosophy is that life is short, we're all going to die eventually, and why not make the best of it.
I still get depressed, all right, but it just makes me want to do more about the time I've got left. And no, I am not dying. If anything, I am riddled with survivor's guilt and I question myself every day why I am alive when other, more worthy people, have succumbed to the illness.
Ergo, I must live my life as fully as I can, just to make up for the fact that other people left before me, and that it would not be fair if I wasted mine in return.
Which takes us to another gym adventure.
Our gym holds a fundraiser for breast cancer every year, by means of selling pink t-shirts and donating the proceedings to breast cancer research. Last year was no different. However, the day they kicked off the campaing, I was not able to go since I was sick with a very bad cold. Nevertheless, my beloved ballistabob went ahead and picked up a shirt for me, as he does every year.
"Do you have a survivor in your family?" asks the desk clerk, as he rings up the shirt.
"Yes," says ballistabob. "My wife."
"Oh, okay," says the clerk.
That's when another guy who, for some reason was at the desk, ready to work out in a baseball cap and motorcycle boots (go figure), butts into the conversation and asks:
"So did your wife got a breast cut off?"
"Yes," says ballistabob. "She had a mastectomy."
"Oh, and did she get a new one put on?"
"Yes," says ballistabob again. "She got reconstructive surgery."
"You know?" says the guy helpfully. "I like the fakey ones better . . ."
Needless to say, "I like the fakey ones better" has become a punch line at home.
Blessed are the clueless, as they keep us entertained.
And thankfully he never learned that I can make the fakey one dance . . .
But that's a story for another time.